The Next System Project: Courageous Thinking on a Revolutionary Scale

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

The originators of the Next System Project describe it as “an ambitious multi-year initiative aimed at thinking boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic challenges the United States faces now and in coming decades.” Calling attention to The Next System Project, Yes! Magazine observes that, “The inability of politics to address poverty, climate change, and other basic challenges has fueled extraordinary experimentation in American communities. Welcome to a new conversation on how we make change happen.”

Drawing on a diversity of viewpoints, models, and approaches, the Project’s first report lays out a preliminary (“rough and partial”) sampling of opportunities, which include: Worker ownership and self-management, localism, reinvigorated social democracy, participatory economic planning, bioregionalism, and ecological economies that do not focus exclusively or primarily on growth. On this basis, the report notes, “An increasingly sophisticated but little-publicized debate about longer-term democratic systemic options is developing just below the surface of public attention.”

To engage a broader public in these promising developments the Project’s originators anticipate three interrelated areas: (1) research and analysis, (2) activist engagement, and (3) communications and implementation.

Faced with the existing political and economic systems, which prioritize corporate profits, the growth of the GDP, and the projection of national power, the Next System Project aims to promote the wellbeing of people and planet through sophisticated proposals for transformative change. “It is time,” the original Project signatories write, “to debate what it will take to move our country to a very different place, one where outcomes that are truly sustainable, equitable, and democratic are commonplace.” They invite members of the public to become signatories and to get involved.


The Next System Project, “It’s Time to Think Boldly About Building a New American System”, Yes! Magazine, March 31, 2015,

Gar Alperovitz, James Gustave Speth and Joe Guinan, “The Next System Project: New Political-Economic Possibilities for the 21st Century,” The Next System Project, March 2015,

Student Researchers: Mariah McHugh and Caitlin McCoy (College of Marin)

Faculty Evaluator: Mickey Huff (Diablo Valley College)